Character actor, Erik Rhodes, was born Ernest Sharpe on Feb 10, 1906 in El Reno, Indian Territory. Rhodes died at the age of 84 on Feb 17, 1990 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and was laid to rest in El Rino Cemetery in El Rino, Canadian County, OK.
Rhodes graduated from the University of Oklahoma, won a scholarship to study acting in New York, and landed his first Broadway role, although a mere eight lines, in A Most Immoral Lady (1928). Rhodes, an accomplished baritone, was then cast in a few Broadway musicals: The Little Show (1929), Hey Nonny Nonny! (1932), and ÃÂ Gay Divorce (1932) starring Fred Astaire. His memorable performance as the high-spirited Italian 'co-respondent' Rodolfo Tonetti, impressed RKO Executives and he was cast in the 1934 film, The Gay Divorcee, directed by Mark Sandrich and starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Rhodes would reunite with Sandrich, Astaire and Rogers (and Eric Blore and Edward Everett Horton) one year later to play Italian dressmaker, Alberto Beddini, in Top Hat (1935).
Although many fans probably remember Erik Rhodes best as those passionate Italian characters -- Tonetti and Beddini -- he was an expert in dialects and accents overall, and could convincingly play non-Italian roles as well such as his 'straight English' speaking characters David Scott-Frensham in Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938) and Max Corday in Charlie Chan in Paris (1935).
Rhodes continued to act on Screen, TV and Broadway through the late 60s (with an additional isolated TV appearance in 1976, The Adams Chronicles). Most notably however, he appeared in some solid Broadway runs during the 50s and 60s: Can-Can, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Barefoot in the Park.(Source: article by Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub).
HONORS and AWARDS:.
TOP CMH FAN-RATED MOVIES include:Top Hat, The Gay Divorcee, Woman Chases Man, One Rainy Afternoon, Dramatic School,.
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